BallnRoll’s 100 Greatest NBA Players of All Time: #91-100
If you are a basketball page without an NBA all-time 100 list, are you even a basketball page?
In part one, we at BallnRoll present our official list of 100 best players to ever step foot onto an NBA court. Where will the Michael Jordans, the Larry Birds, and the Tracy McGradys land on our list?
Let’s kick things off with numbers 91-100!
Just Missed the Cut:
- Yao Ming
- Maurice Cheeks
- Dave DeBusschere
- Dolph Schayes
100. Paul Westphal
- Career Stats: 12 Seasons, 15.6 PPG, 4.4 APG, 19.4 PER, 67.7 Win Shares
A five-time All-Star and former NBA Champion, Paul Westphal was quite possibly the best all-around guard for a stretch of half a decade from 1975-1981. In 1974, it was Westphal who led the way for the Boston Celtics, helping the franchise claim their first NBA title during the post-Bill Russell era. He was one of the first combo-guards in NBA history, and while he excelled in both the NCAA and the pros, he is a name that is often forgotten.
In one of the greatest basketball games ever played, Westphal called a daring timeout during Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals with his Phoenix Suns team down one. As the Suns were out of time outs, the call allowed the Celtics to take a technical foul, but at the same time, the Suns were able to regroup and tie the game at the buzzer.
A pioneer, a versatile and efficient guard, Westphal gets us started on our top 100 list!
99. Detlef Shrempf
- Career Stats: 16 Seasons, 13.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 17.2 PER, 109.5 Win Shares
Getting our first taste of international flavour, Detlef Shrempf was the first German-born superstar the NBA has ever seen. A three-time All-Star and two-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Shrempf was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks but didn’t find success until his next stop in Indiana from where his NBA career really took off.
A tremendous all-around player with a deadly outside game, Shrempf is one of the most influential international players in NBA history.
98. Billy Cunningham
- Career Stats: 11 Seasons, 21.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 20.0 PER, 78.6 Win Shares
The ‘Kangaroo Kid’ is a former NBA champion, a Hall of Famer, and a 50 Greatest Players list honouree. A guy who excelled at every stage of basketball, Billy Cunningham became a superstar on the NBA level and during his prime made a career of lighting up his opposition.
Entering the league in its infancy, Cunningham was a competitor, a great athlete and the superstar that the NBA needed to continue to grow.
97. Mitch Richmond
- Career Stats: 14 Seasons, 21.0 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 17.6 PER, 79.3 Win Shares
For some reason, not many people remember Mitch Richmond who really was an incredible basketball player. An NBA champion with the Lakers, the Hall of Famer became a star as part of the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings. Averaging 22-points per game in his rookie year, Richmond averaged over 20-points a game in each of his first 10-seasons in the NBA.
96. Mark Price
- Career Stats: 12 Seasons, 15.2 PPG, 6.7 APG, 19.6 PER, 71.1 Win Shares
No one has ever shot as well as Cleveland Cavaliers legend Mark Price has from the free throw line (90.4%). A multiple time All-Star, Mark Price is one of the best shooters in league history and is one of the few players on the NBA’s 50-40-90 list.
It didn’t take long for the Cleveland Cavaliers to retire Price’s jersey. The point guard was a great ball handler, a creative and flashy basketball player who was quick in the open floor and one of the league’s best passers.
95. Paul Arizin
- Career Stats: 10 Seasons, 22.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 19.7 PER, 108.8 Win Shares
One of the league’s first superstars, Paul Arizin was honoured by being named to the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players list. Spending his entire career with the Philadelphia Warriors, Arizin missed two seasons of his career due to military service, but seemingly didn’t miss a single beat upon his return.
Arizin averaged at least 20-points per game in each of his 10 seasons except for his rookie year and was a true pioneer of the sport. Basketball’s Babe Ruth, Arizin became a star almost immediately, revolutionizing the NBA by introducing the jump shot. One of the league’s premier shooters, Arizin was also a great leaper, a gritty defender and a flashy ball handler.
94. Walt Bellamy
- Career Stats: 13 Seasons, 20.1 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 19.8 PER, 130.0 Win Shares
Only seven NBA players can boast about racking up 20K points and 14K rebounds in a career, the late, great Walt Bellamy is one of those seven men. One of the league’s best early big men, Bellamy had an incredible resume upon his retirement. He was sixth all time in scoring, third in rebounding, and has a career field goal percentage of 51.6% thanks to a wide array of agile post moves.
Bellamy’s best season was his rookie year. He averaged 31.6-points per game and grabbed down 19-boards a game. Despite never getting back to those numbers, Bellamy paved a legacy that will always be remembered, a legacy which includes being part of the first black starting line-up in NBA history as part of the Chicago Bulls.
93. Lenny Wilkens
- Career Stats: 15 Seasons, 16.5 PPG, 6.7 APG, 4.7 RPG, 16.8 PER, 95.5 Win Shares
Before becoming one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, Lenny Wilkens was a superstar basketball player. A nine-time All-Star, Wilkens was one of the NBA’s first great playmakers. Despite a small frame, Wilkens was a shifty and smooth point guard, being named to one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996.
Following his retirement, Wilkens became a coach. With an NBA Championship on his resume, Wilkens is currently second on the NBA’s all-time coaching wins list (1,332), only three wins shy of Don Nelson’s wins mark.
92. Nate Thurmond
- Career Stats: 14 Seasons, 15.0 PPG, 15.0 RPG, 16.5 PER, 78.0 Win Shares
Along with Walt Bellamy, the late Nate Thurmond was one of the league’s premier big men.
Not many centers were able to intimidate the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain, but Thurmond had a rugged style of play which made him one of the greats of his time and in the history of basketball. With a great offensive and defensive game, Thurmond had quick and long hands, a smooth shooting stroke, and great rebounding and shot-blocking ability. Some NBA historians and analysts even believe that Thurmond provided the best offense-defense mix in NBA history.
91. Tim Hardaway
- Career Stats: 13 Seasons, 17.7 PPG, 8.2 APG, 18.6 PER, 85.0 Win Shares
Dubbed the ‘UTEP Two-Step’ the five-time All-Star Tim Hardaway is best known for his crossovers.
Before injuries began to plague his great career, Hardaway was one of the best guards the NBA has ever seen, dominating the league all through the 90’s. Currently an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons, Hardaway will be remembered for his handles and his time with ‘Run TMC’ along with Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin.
Check back next week for part two of our Top 100 list!